When it comes to marketing and advertising, your best friend is the content you are providing to your customers whether we are aiming at a content marketing campaign or not. A banner has to send a message, so does a radio or a TV ad.
Everything you do in order to get your audience to pay attention to your services or your products needs to be carefully weighed and powered by valuable content and a clear message.
In fact, everything we do today is related in a way or another with content marketing.
I have already covered the importance of content marketing and why almost every small business needs a blog in my previous posts and I am not going to focus on that part now.
However, this time, I will pinpoint the most important parts of writing an SEO friendly blog post and we will learn together how to do a keyword research and why is important do it, for a business to business blog.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is – and should be – important for every marketer, business owner or blogger. Regardless of how good your content is, it needs to be discovered by your targeted audience. This is why you need SEO .
In this article, I will only address marketers because, in a way, bloggers and business owners (if it is a small b2b business) are also involved in marketing, whether it is direct or indirect.
What is SEO?
All major search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo, deliver primary search results and secondary search results.
What does this mean? Well, when people ask the search engine for something, the answers are basically a list that contains several pages of links to get to, some of them exactly what they are searching for and some of them not even related.
The most valuable answers are usually grouped on the first page of the list, maybe even on the top three answers automatically generated. Search Engine Optimization allows you to optimize your content so that, in time, your page or post will be delivered to the top of this list based on specific queries. For example, if you talk about small yellow balls on your post when somebody searches for small yellow balls, you want your link to appear on the top of the list or at least, on the top 5 or so results.
Now, why you should make your posts SEO friendly?
There’s only one answer for this:
By optimizing your blog posts, you make them more visible for the people to whom you are addressing. Moreover, if you are engaged in business to business marketing, this optimization is even more important, as your audience is not as wide as the audience of a general interest blog.
You are marketing your products or services to other businesses and this means that they should be visible to employees of other companies or people who have decision making responsibilities in these companies. This means that anything you say should be really good targeted and the keywords are well chosen so that you may stand out from the crowd through your content marketing campaign.
At the same time, even if you are aiming at a B2B campaign, you cannot neglect your ordinary readers and clients. If you are able to expand your audience and sell more to them, you will have only to gain from it and nothing to lose. And this is why, you have to prepare your SEO campaign so that it will please all your audiences, regardless of their professional background or their place of work.
Before you start, however, keep in mind that
SEO is not just making your website or your blog posts search engine friendly.
Through SEO, you can make your content better also for your readers and you should always think about them when writing an article or a blog post. If your content is optimized for SEO but without value for your audience, all your efforts may prove to be superfluous.
Add value and you will get what you want.
How to optimize your B2B blog posts for SEO?
We know that SEO is important not just for the website but also for every new article or blog post. If you want to optimize your individual pages or blog posts, you need to perform a keyword research and of course, adapt your text so that your keyword density will not harm your rank.
I will talk about all these aspects in the following paragraphs so, pay attention to what I will say, in order to find out how to make the most out of your every new blog post you are going to publish from now on.
Learn how to perform a keyword research. Part 1: The tools
First and foremost, you need to learn how to perform a keyword research and which tools to use. There are several tools available, some of them are good while some are not. However, the value of a key research tool depends mostly on what you want to achieve from it, your main marketing goals and of course, how easy you manage to learn to work with it and adapt to it so that it will be useful to you.
“Keywords determine what your company is known for. It is the blueprint for your online marketing efforts, driving every decision you make”, Neil Patel writes.
It’s important therefore to know what you are doing and to do it right because your entire business may depend on it.
In order to make the best choice for your business and start your campaign on the right foot, I have compiled a list of the best keyword research tools available in 2017.
Keyword Planner is a free tool accessible from the Google Adwords account that is supposed to help new and experienced advertisers to build a search network campaigns or expand their already set up campaigns. Whether you are already using Google Adwords or not, you can subscribe with the service and use this tool in your keyword research, considering that Google Search is the most popular search engine and Keyword Planner, an inside tool that is continuously updated to fit Google’s search algorithms.
Keep in mind however that although this tool is free, you still need a Google Adwords account in order to use it.
I will start with the bad news: Semrush is not free although you can benefit from a free trial period. It is not even cheap. However, some of the best things in life are not free as well and Semrush makes no difference. When it comes to keywords research, this is a must-have tool for any marketer, blogger or b2b business owner.
Why is Semrush a good choice?
Well, in this case, you don’t have to already know what keywords to use when you perform your research. You just need to add your URL or your competitor’s URL and the tool will show you all the keywords that are ranking high on that site. For instance, if you want to write about a specific service or a specific product, you need to find out some competitors pages with similar content and see what keywords they use and how good they rank on search engines. Then, all you need to do is take that keyword and write your own article.
I recommend this tool mostly because it helps you find suitable keywords for your articles. Moreover, it gives you in-depth analysis of those keywords, traffic stats, CPC, and search engine reports.
LSI Graph is a free and simple tool you can use in order to generate popular keywords based on your own suggestions.
In this example, I have searched for “branded sportswear” and as you can see from the screenshot, the list of generated matched and effective keywords is quite large. From there, I can choose the most fitted keywords for a blog post and start writing.
What are LSI Keywords?
LSI Keywords are keywords that are related to the keywords people search on search engines such as Google.
They are semantically linked to your main keywords and as a consequence, you can use them along y your main expressions in your posts in order to amplify the message and make it more visible to the search engine. The main website, where you can also find the tool, will also explain to you how you can leverage these LSI Keywords and which formula to apply in order to be successful.
Another commercial premium tool, similar to Semrush in more ways than its price, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer may prove to be essential for a marketer who wants to amplify his or her B2B campaign through blog posts. What’s really interesting and at the same time valuable with Ahrefs is that it will give you an approximation of how effective a keyword will be. Thus, you may find out how many clicks you can get through a search engine if you rank high on a specific keyword.
KWFinder is one of the youngest SEO tools available on the market but still, it has become one of the most powerful tools available these days. This is a tool dedicated completely to Keyword research, and this is why I couldn’t let it out of this list. You should give it a try.
What is KWFinder good for?
First, it helps you find long tail keywords your competitors are missing, and as a consequence, rank better for these specific phrases. Then, you can use the tool to narrow down your keyword research to a specific location. If you are aiming at a B2B marketing campaign focused on companies and businesses from your geographical area, this feature will also be of help. Last but not least, KWFinder will help you get real-time SEO difficulty for specific keywords and thus, make a better selection when you are finally writing your posts.
Buzzsumo is not the traditional keyword research tool you may be accustomed to. However, you should at least try it if you want your research to be thorough. The tool is designed to help marketers and bloggers to find influencers in their industry but it can also be helpful as a keyword research tool, if you want to verify the relevancy of your keywords.
Let’s see how it works:
Search for a specific keyword or key phrase and see how popular that specific topic is. The following example is quite instructive.
You can see who wrote about the topic but at the same time, how much engagement did they had on social media. You can filter your results by language, country or word count.
If you are not content with your choice in keywords, however, you can use one of the previous tools to find out new ones or, choose another one from your list, of which I am going to talk about in the next chapter.
Learn how to perform a keyword research. Part 2: the terms
We know now which the best tools for a keyword research are. With LSI, things are simple, as you get to find out some related keywords to include in your blog posts. What about the main keywords? And what about all the times you choose not to work with LSI? How to choose the best keywords you can base your search on and ultimately, your texts?
Let’s find out, together, how to do a keyword research for a B2B blog post:
Your clients already know who you are. This is why brand related keywords will always provide a good conversion if you are addressing an already settled market. These keywords may not prove to be a great choice if you are looking to expand your audience, in which case, you will have to dig a little deeper. However, it won’t be such a bad thing to also include them in your post, regardless of what is your ultimate goal.
A few years ago, I would have been quite easy to find the terms on which you competitors rank high and flood your website with them, in order to outrank them in search engines searches. Google latest updates, however, made this thing almost impossible. You can still use them along with your brand keywords but if you want to at least have a chance to compete on the market, the keywords must be at all time relevant to your articles and to the context. It is not enough just to insert them between the lines, they have to have a meaning and a purpose and not to look just as a mere attempt at keyword spam.
Product/services related keywords
These are the keywords that should really matter to you. What products are you selling or producing? What services are you providing? How do they help your audience and what are their characteristics? Find out what makes your products stand out from the crowd and what problems do they solve. Then, try to make a list of all keywords that may be related to these attributes and research their relevancy on search engines. How many people are looking for similar products and or services? How do they look for them and what phrases do they use for their queries?
An individual who seeks to solve a personal o a professional issue (B2B) online, is not yet decided what to buy. Not yet, at least. If your post ranks high on a specific problem-solving query and links to your blog post in which a product that solves that specific issue is presented, you are one step further in making an actual sale.
These keywords are not actually based on your products but instead on complementary products that may be paired with yours, although you are not selling them. For instance, if you are selling office desks, you might want to write an article on paired desks and office chairs and try to attract a new audience who is looking to buy chairs for their offices.
There will always be companies who are looking for a specific product and find out that they need also another one, once that product is presented to them. Moreover, you can use these types of articles to build relationships with complementary businesses and exchange guest posts with their blogs or websites.
Create your keyword lists and refine it
You have selected your keyword research tool and the main group of keywords you are about to research and integrate into your post. Now, it’s time to create a list of the most important keywords. This is a list that will help you write not only a blog post but an entire series of post, based on a specific idea you want to build your blog around.
The list, however, will not be enough unless you refine it from time to time. People change and so do the search trends and this is why, when you are about to write a new post, you should verify your already listed keywords and eliminate from your list those who are no longer effective or add some new keywords.
Also, you can refine these keywords by category, by competitors, by geographical area or by semantics. Your choice depends mostly on your goals, your type of products or services and of course, the area your business covers.
Don’t forget to read your entire list for a few times and think about the meaning of your keywords. If you have listed some phrases that might have multiple meanings, drop them off. If you are not sure about it, perform a search on Google and see what the search engine delivers.
Do the same thing with keywords that have different meanings in different countries you market your business. “Football equipment” means two entirely different things in UK and US.
Learn how to perform a keyword research. Part 3: the blog post
Now that you know how to search for specific keywords and which keywords to search as well, it’s time to put all these knowledge to work and write your post. I know, the problem that I signled right from the title has already been solved but in order to benefit from what you have learned, you need to be able to apply this information.
I am not going to expand on this subject but nevertheless, I feel I am obliged to pinpoint some important facts such as:
The title: The headline of your post is very important because this will be the first thing the viewer sees when he or she looks for a specific thing on the Internet. Specifically, this is also the title delivered by the search engine and this is why it is important to include a keyword here, if possible, your main keyword.
The URL: If you are using WordPress, make sure your URLs are automatically generated from the title of the post. From the “Dashboard”, go to “Settings” à “Permalinks”. From there, select the second option, “Day and Name” or the fifth option, “Post name” if you want to display only the title. You can also edit your URL if you want to use a long tail keyword and eliminate words you don’t want to be there.
This option is available in the editor view when you write a new post, right under the main title. Save your draft before, otherwise, you won’t be able to change the URL. For reference, see the following example:.
The headers and the text body: Your keywords, should also be mentioned in your headers and the body of the text. However, if you don’t want to be penalized by the search engines, do it without abuse. Insert your keywords two or three times in each post and if you want more density, choose LSI keywords generated by the LSI Graph tool mentioned early in this guide. You should always focus on what is important to your readers and not exclusively on keywords. They matter but the value and the relevance of your content are another two things that matter as well, sometimes even more.
Keyword research is important for a content marketing oriented blog. When you are relying on business to business marketing, your main sources of readers will be your main audience which usually comes to the website directly or via email marketing and your target audience, which is accessible through the search engines.
Content is the most important thing when it comes to marketing but if you want to be easily discoverable via search engines, you will also need to research keywords and adapt your blogs so that they will all be SEO friendly. This guide will help you adapt to all these requirements and hopefully, create blog posts that will allow your company to stand out from the crowd and generate traffic via search engines easier than before.
What do you think about these steps and the research tools presented in this guide? Which one of them did you use so far and how helpful was it?